Fruit Sizing App

Insider Interview From The 2022 APAL Orchard Tour

By September 7, 2022 No Comments
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hectre’s Head of Sales, Kevin Park and Account Manager Danny Herbert, represented Hectre at the recent APAL event, where attendees got to see Spectre up close for the first time.

Attendees included mostly growers, with around one-third of attendees being packhouses or verticals. Various research and government bodies were also in attendance.

We asked Kevin and Danny for the inside scoop:

Tell us about Apple and Pear Australia’s Orchard Tour:

Danny: There was a lot of buzz and excitement on the day, especially because of all the knowledge and insights that people were picking up.

Kevin: The day before the orchard tour day, there were a lot of presentations, it was very technical and specific with lots of different topics. Whereas, the orchard tour day was a bit more relaxed and hands-on.

Danny: Yeah, the day before might have been a bit hard for people who are used to buzzing around on their feet all day. The people I talked to mostly seemed to enjoy the second day the best.

Kevin: There were about 80 people on the tour, split into different groups, with one group touring the packhouse, which was a lot like an Amazon warehouse except with apples on all the different conveyor belts.

Photo of Kevin

Kevin Park

Hectre Head of Sales

photo of Danny

Danny Herbert

Hectre Account Manager

Why was Hectre there?

Kevin: We’ve always had customers in Australia since the very beginning, but after significant growth, and with the volume of new tech innovations we’re releasing, we’re really keen to connect with growers and packhouses face to face at every opportunity.

We value learning from industry and knew this event would provide lots of insights for us to bring back to our business. When we were presented with this opportunity, it was a no brainer for sure!

Photo of Spectre mobile fruit sizing being used at Montagues Packhouse Victoria Australia

What was your first impression?

Kevin: I was extremely impressed with the Montague packhouse! Very modern and technologically enabled, a bit like what you would expect if walking onto Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. Not what you might expect to find at a fifth-generation orchard in rural Australia!

Danny: We were so warmly welcomed by the team at Montague. They couldn’t have done more for us and certainly made sure that everything went smoothly.

Kevin: Would I go again? 100% yes. You just learn too much to not go. I think the growers got a lot out of it, particularly because they’ve had a really tough year and the event provided some knowledge and inspiration, and allowed time to just talk to others going through the same stuff.

What was the reaction to Spectre like?

Kevin: The simplicity of Spectre was a big hit, and they were really impressed by what Spectre could do. We definitely had a lot of curious people, keen to find out more!

Danny: The crowd was fantastic. Really good audience participation! We were dealing with a lot of people who are very experienced and know how to do QC and size up fruit, so they were really keen to try and beat the machine in our “Beat Spectre for Beersies” competition.

Apple bin

Yes, enough about the tech, tell us about “Beat Spectre for Beersies!”

Danny: For “Beat Spectre for Beersies”, we got people to huddle around a bin of apples that Montague kindly provided.

Kevin: We then asked everyone, with their experience, what do you think are the three top sizes and the percentage of those sizes in the bin. The people with the best “guestimations” won some top notch craft beer on us! (Keep an eye on your mail!)

Hectre double award icon

What stood out for you from talking to the people there?

Danny: One of the growers I was talking with told me they currently have only one QC manager who he essentially uses as a vision detection tool. He’s been in the industry for forty-plus years and he knows apples so well he can look at a bin and get amazingly close to the correct size distribution. However, he’s retiring soon, so it was the perfect time to be introduced to Spectre.

Kevin: When I asked what percentage of your apples do you think you need to sample to get accurate size results, most people would say about 10%. They were then quite shocked when I did the math with them and showed them that their current sampling is actually only about 0.005%, which is a tiny percentage to be betting millions of dollars on.

What was it like travelling with Danny?

Kevin: Yeah it was good fun, good banter, he enjoys a cocktail after a long day!

And what was it like travelling with Kevin?

Danny: That boy can eat, that’s the first comment! He eats fast and he eats a lot! But, yeah, we got along really well.

If you would like to see what Spectre could do for your business, book an obligation-free online demo with our friendly team.